On a lighter note: the Conservative Party must have used “Improbability Drive” to win UK General Election

by | May 8, 2015 | Military space, On a Lighter Note, Seradata News | 0 comments

It was in his seminal work “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” that the late comedy/science fiction writer, Douglas Adams, came up with the concept of an “Improbability Drive”. This drive, which allows some very strange and improbable things to happen has obviously been in use given the amount of improbability around.

For example, it was Australia, not Austria, which nearly won May’s European satellite television extravaganza, the Eurovision Song Contest (yes, you read that right).  By some similar mystical force, or rather due to the electorate’s last minute fear of a Labour/SNP coalition, the Conservative party defied the bookmakers’ odds and the opinion polls to win the UK General Election with an outright majority.

In fact, so strong were the Conservatives in Southern England, that one commentator noted that apart from a few urban areas, the Labour party won fewer MPs in the South of the country than there were astronauts who walked on the Moon.

Meantime another wag showed that an electoral map of mainland UK using the party colours, with the resurgent SNP’s yellow dominating Scotland and the Conservatives’ blue dominating England, plus a few interspersed urban spots of Labour red, was looking more and more like the cartoon character Maggie Simpson.

Space up, defences still down

The UK’s space industry is likely to be a beneficiary of the election result as the returning key members of Conservative administration – especially the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne – were already fans of the new space technologies being developed in the UK.

Nevertheless, not all is bright in the world of aerospace.  Manifesto spending promises made to other areas, including the NHS, and tax cuts will mean another cut in funding for defence, mooted as being up to 5%.  This is in spite of the fact that UK’s defences already have embarrassing gaps: the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft were all scrapped and there are no jet fighters for the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers (its Harriers were prematurely sold or scrapped before new US-built F-35 jets were ready).

In space, the UK’s Skynet military communications satellite fleet is starting to show its age. Meanwhile the British Army reportedly only has about 36 working tanks and the RAF has so few serviceable fighters that it could not stand the attrition rates of the “Battle of Britain” of 1940 again for more than about two days.

Of course, defence cuts have been going on for years, under both Conservative and Labour administrations.  For example, it was in 2000 that the jestful IgNobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Royal Navy for ordering its sailors to save money on bullets and cannon shells during training exercises by shouting BANG! instead of firing.  Sometimes the Royal Navy does fire expensive live weaponry – but by accident rather than by design.  For example, last year a Royal Navy frigate inadvertently torpedoed a dockside fence and metal container.

Ah well, we can always rely on our stout British Yeomanry armed with their pikes and long bows, and, of course, our caustic British wit to make wounding remarks about the style of our enemies’ uniforms. 🙂

At least the decision to renew the submarine-launched Trident nuclear missile system can now go forward (it had been previously held up by the Conservatives’ Lib Dem coalition partners).  The new Conservative majority government will eschew the suggested alternative of using slower cruise missiles launched from non-specialist submarines, even though ballistic missiles are becoming more vulnerable to anti-ballistic missile defences on Earth and in space .

Still, at least UK’s potential enemies do not yet have a Hitchhiker’s style “improbability drive” to turn our nuclear missiles into bowls of petunias or sperm whales.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJycqfofBhs

Other improbabilities

On the subject of improbable items, now that the election is over we can finallymention all the space polices that were cited during the campaign. There were not many and they were mainly from the “joke” candidates.  One was from the comedian Al Murray in his “pub landlord” guise with his Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP) 🙂 as he stood unsuccessfully in South Thanet, Kent.  He promised to remove the UK from not only the European Union (EU), but also from the solar system.

After the election, noting the planned UK “in or out” EU referendum that the Conservative administration now plans, Jean-Jacques Dordain, current head of the European Space Agency (ESA), weighed in by suggesting that nations such as the UK would be wise to stay in both ESA and the EU. No word from him yet about whether we should stay in the solar system as well.

The other space-related promise made during the election was from Mr Johnny Disco, the Monster Raving Loony party’s candidate for the Wythenshawe and Sale constituency in Manchester.  His plan was to start his constituency’s own local space programme by turning Wythenshawe Airport (officially called Manchester Airport) into the Wythenshawe Space Centre.  This added to his party’s other original, if slightly unrealistic policy of making the mythical unicorn a protected species.

Despite being confident of a “Loony landslide” Mr Disco did not win. Presumably, the unsuccessful candidate will now have to find himself a proper improbable job.

We suggest that he might try and become a Hansom Cab lamp fitter. 🙂

(Apologies to “Carry on Doctor”)

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to https://www.seradata.com/product/

Related Articles

Viasat completes US$6.3 billion Inmarsat acquisition in a major satcom merger

Global Fixed Service Satellite (FSS) operator Viasat Inc has closed its long awaited acquisition of Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications Read more

Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg with 52 Starlink Group 2-10 satellites aboard

A Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 0602 GMT on 31 Read more

North Korean Chollima-1 maiden launch ends in second stage failure – sets off neighbours’ alarms

North Korea attempted to orbit a military reconnaissance satellite Malligyeong-1 using its new Chollima-1 rocket from a pad at the Read more

Smaller orders: launches for Haven-1 space station and its Vast-1 mission, for EWS-1 prototype; sat contracts for Zeno and Orbit Fab

Commercial space station operator Vast has signed a contract with SpaceX for the launches of its first space station and Read more

Long March 2F launches “Taikonaut” trio to Chinese Space Station on Shenzhou 16

A Long March 2F/G (Y16) launched Shenzhou 16 with three Chinese astronauts ("Taikonauts") on board on their way to the Read more

GSLV Mk II puts up NVS-01 navsat

An Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) GSLV Mk II rocket (GSLV 2 CUSP 4) was successfully launched from Satish Dhawan Read more

Russia launches Kondor-FKA radar satellite

On 2114 GMT on 26 May 2023, a Soyuz 2-1a/Fregat launched a Kondor-FKA No 1 satellite for Roscosmos. The 1,050 Read more

BADR-8 comsat is launched by a Falcon 9 into a super-synchronous transfer orbit

The Arabsat-owned communications satellite BADR-8 aka Arabsat-7B was launched by a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 from Cape Canaveral at 0430 Read more




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticfalcon 9ULARoscosmosFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5DGAevaaviation weekspacewalkaressoyuzIGTBeidouawardsInternational Space StationspaceBlue OriginSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonStarlinkCargo Return VehicleRocket LabresearchboeingmarsblogAirbus DSOneWeborionISROspaceshiptwoimpacthyperboladelayjaxamarsdemocratgoogle lunar prizerocketlunarhypertextobamaEutelsatlaunchVegatourismconstellationbarack obamafiguresSESnorthspaceflightthales alenia spacenode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009romeAtlas VExpress MD-2dassault aviationss2Elon MuskLockheed MartinaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiotestmissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationVirgin OrbitinternetAriane 5 ECAChina Manned Space EngineeringSLSsts-122missile defensenewspapercotsgalileospace tourismflight2010Ariane 5Express AMU 1spaceportbuildspace stationaltairNorthrop GrummanElectronshuttleProton Minternational astronautical congressscaled compositesIntelsat 23CosmosLauncherOneEuropean Space Agencyhanleybudgetrulesnew yorksoyuz 2-1aLong March 4CLong March 2D/2Ariane 6shenzhouatvspace shuttleVietnamcongressMojaveboldenInmarsatOrbital ATKnew shepardLong March 2CGuiana Space CenteriaccnesksclawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BprotonUS Air ForceILSApollodarpaTalulah RileydragonastronautusabasepicturelanderAstriumSkyloneuSSLVega Clunar landerfiveeventfalconSea LaunchWednesdayinterview50thSNCAprilKuaizhou 1ASpace InsuranceTelesat7linkatlantisLong MarchcustomersuccessorFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5